Causes of Depression

Depression – What is it?

Depression is a condition characterised by prolonged feelings of sadness or despondency that interfere with the sufferer’s everyday life. It often includes feelings of hopelessness and low self-worth. A person with depression can find it difficult to maintain an interest, whether it’s in what’s going on around them or life in general.

There is no single cause of depression and psychiatrists believe it is more likely to be a combination of different influences such as biological factors (genetics, hormones or a chemical imbalance) and environmental factors (life events such as a trauma or loss of a loved one). Depression can occur at any life stage and includes:

  • Childhood depression – can be a result of factors such as neglect or abuse, poor parenting, changes to family life such as the birth of a sibling, bullying or moving to a new school.
  • Teenage depression – can be caused by going through puberty, stresses of study, introduction to harmful substances, bullying, dating or new social situations.
  • Antenatal and postpartum depression – can be caused by rapid hormonal changes and the stresses associated with pregnancy, labour and birth.
  • Depression in the elderly – can be caused by genetics, past life experiences, poor health or social isolation, and loneliness.
  • Depression in the physically ill – can be caused by prescription medications or experiencing traumatic life changing events such as cancer, heart attack etc.